Neten Dorji

Einar Kippenes, a man with a heart of gold, not only established a school for the blind in Khaling, Trashigang but also improved the lives of villagers in the valley.

As the Muenseling Institute celebrates its golden jubilee this year, the institute and the people of Khaling remember them with deep gratitude.

It all started in April 1973 when His Royal Highness Paro Penlop Namgyal Wangchuk paid a visit to Khaling and Kippenes shared some concerns.

Kippenes is said to have shared with Paro Penlop that there was a great problem with the food supply in the area. “Whatever they grow, particularly maize and potato, do not see them through the year. Then villagers visit shops and take rice on credit; this is a serious problem facing the people.”

The Paro Penlop took this matter very seriously and advised Kippenes to establish the Khaling Cooperative Society, and provided a fund of Nu 30,000 then.

Together with the Trashigang dzongdag, Kippenes bought a truckload of rice to be shared among the villages.

At the end of the year, Kippenes received money from the villagers. Paro Penlop urged Kippenes to keep the funds rolling.

“When we left in December 1981, there was about Nu 120,000 in the bank account belonging to the public. So, it helped the people here to maintain their living standards,” said Kippenes.

While her husband engaged in school and social activities, Mrs Kippenes worked with the women of Khaling. Here, they developed hand looms and started producing high-quality fabrics. These items were sold to Norway and the funds went to the women of Khaling.

The ladies received payment from Mrs Kippenes for their weaving, and they gave the money to the cooperative. “That was our aim to teach the blind, but also support the ordinary public,” added Mr Kippenes.

Einar Kippenes did not just provide a school for the blind, but he also made an enormous impact on the villages’ lives for many years to come. His service to the people in Khaling is a testament to what can be achieved with compassion, hard work, and dedication.